Sunday, March 30, 2008

A 2nd blog

Well, I've done it. I've created my 2nd blog. The recipe blog I've threatened here that I was going to start. Only, I've kind of expanded it beyond just a 'recipe' blog.

You see, I've always been torn with this page. I want to post cute stuff of my kids, and fun family things, but then there's always all this other 'stuff' that gets lost admidst my other posts, or I simply decide not to post it because it doesn't 'fit in'. So, here's the plan.

I will maintain this blog as normal, trying to keep it mostly about my family, kids, funny Cosette sayings, etc :)

My additional blog will be for all those extra things that I always want to post and can't seem to fit in---things like recipes, healthy living ideas, raising kids ideas and books etc, different ponderings on how to be a godly wife and mother, Bible inspirations from my quiet times that I feel worth sharing, etc.

So, the page is not completely finished yet, as far as template and stuff. I'm not 100% sure of it yet, but I thought I'd let you, my faithful blogging friends, be the first to check it out and leave me your feed-back. :)

So, here's the address--- www.avirtuouswife.blogspot.com

Friday, March 28, 2008

Guilty

A little boy, as found on the floor of Grandma's kitchen.....





















Thursday, March 27, 2008

10 things I've been enjoying lately

I love.....


1. Fixing breakfast the night before and smelling it baking in the kitchen.

2. Having my windows open on a warmer 'spring' day

3. Being able to sit down for more than five minutes and make progress on a good book.

4. Decaf coffee with amaretto flavored creamer

5. Feeling my baby move

6. Realizing how long a package of pull-ups is now lasting for Eli

7. Taking advantage of the fact that Cosette now loves to comb mommy's hair!

8. Finding maternity shirts for five bucks at WalMart (Thanks Kristin!)

9. Getting closets cleaned out and preparations for a new baby

10. Snuggling up next to my sleeping husband, which I'm going to go do right now....Goodnight!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

To correct in Love

I am currently reading through a book called 'Creative Correction'. It was written by Lisa Whelchel and put out by Focus on the Family. I read a passage last night that really caught my attention. Rather than try to summerize it, I thought I'd let you read the whole thing for yourself. This excerpt comes from page 58 in the book.

"...until our children learn to obey by their own free choice, they will continue to think the objective is to see how much they can get away with without getting caught. That's why it's critical, especially as our children get older, for us to take a two-step approach to parenting: We must teach the heart as well as discipline the flesh. While it's important that our kids learn to follow our instruction, they must also understand the reasons behind our restrictions and standards so that they may choose, by an act of the will, to obey. This is the real heart of obedience."


She then goes on to say:


"Children who grow up in legalistic, strict environments in which the parents never explain the purpose of discipline will often obey just as long as Mom and Dad are watching, then act up the second their parents turn their heads. On the other hand, kids who grow up in homes that lack rules and standards, where the parents are buddies rather than authority figures, often know the right thing to do but don't have the willpower to carry it out."


I know that too much of the time, I am guilty of what she is speaking of. Training, correcting, and disciplining for the sole purpose of keeping my house less chaotic. Instead, when Cosette whines and cries about sharing her treat with Eli, I should not only correct her, but teach her the truth that "God loves a cheerful giver" I do not want her to only share with her brother because she might get a time-out otherwise. I want her to share because her heart understands that this is the best thing to do.
However, let me add a disclaimer here. Obviously, when our children are very small, they will not understand 'why' they should or should not do things. My six month old who is reaching for the electrical outlet will not understand 'why' he should not touch it. It is enough for him to simply know that when he tries to touch that thing, he will receive a painful flick on the wrist. And so, he restrains himself from doing something dangerous. Or, it is enough right now for Eli to know that he should stay in bed at nap-time because that's what Mommy and Daddy told him to do. I think, though, that this author's point is specifically geared toward children who are beginning to understand the difference between 'right and wrong' We take the months and years of training that we've given them already, and apply another step---teaching them how to go beyond mere 'flesh obedience', and make it a heart issue. That way, when they are in their teens and presented with even more dangerous and sinful temptations, they will be able to resist, because the truth of God's Word is ingrained in their hearts.
Hope this all makes sense! I am preaching to myself as well. I just found this passage very wise and eye-opening, at least for me. It will be a challenge that I keep in my mind from now on.

Monday, March 24, 2008

LIfe is Good

I'll repeat that again. Life if good.

At least right now. I understand that life has it's ups and downs, and life is not always 'good'. But for our family, right now, we are enjoying a peaceful calm. After the stress we had at the beginning of the year, we are glad for a quiet stretch.

I am up and back to my normal self, completely recovered after that month of bed-rest. I'm back to taking care of my house and children, giving a few lessons, and even enjoying some easy walking on my tread-mill (ok'd by my mid-wife first, of course). The only things I don't do are lift or carry the kids alot (not a big deal, since they're getting bigger), run my vacuum, since it's too heavy (but my mom and Joel have been helping me out with that once a week or so), or go grocery shopping by myself, since I can't load the kids in and out of the cart. That just means that I have to take my loving husband with me when I go, which I don't mind, since he's nice company ;)

Cosette is enjoying the fun 'school-work' I've begun with her. She catches on to things so quickly. She now knows all her letter sounds and can 95 % of the time tell you what letter a word starts with. She likes to sit and look at books by herself, and loves stories to listen to on CD. Our weekly library trips are a high-light for her.

Eli is potty training, and doing really well. In fact, I would say that so far, he's been easier than Cosette was. This is a relief, since I'd always heard how hard boys are to train. Who knows, maybe he's setting me up for a difficult time here soon, but so far, he's in big boy pants all day, and keeping them dry most of the time. Yeah for Eli!!

Baby Curtis is doing well; he's moving around alot, and drives me crazy with the hiccups he gets! I can't wait to see him in a few months... By the way, some of you have been trying to guess his name. Don't bother trying to drag it out of Cosette, since she really has no idea. We have no intentions of telling this name until the baby is in my arms :)

And Joel and I, well, we're getting ready to buy a larger vehicle sometime soon. Probably a mini-van. We realized that with this baby, we would no longer be able to fit in our car---three car-seats literally won't fit in the back. So, we're hoping to be driving around in a 'new-used' van in the next month or so.

I have been having fun lately trying out new recipes. Since it's technically better for me to stay around the house more now during this pregnancy, and not be out and about on errands and lifting my kids alot, we've had a lot more 'home' time than we normally do. This has given me extra cooking and baking time, which I love. I've enjoyed trying some new healthy twists to our diet, such as using more flaxseed, trying out new oatmeal recipes, experimenting with whole-grain pasta, and making my own raspberry sauce (yum!) I may start an additional blog just for the purpose of keeping all these recipes and cooking ideas straight. Anybody have any thoughts on that idea?

And that is the most current update on our family. Have a great week :)

Friday, March 21, 2008

To make a mommy happy :)

I walked out into my hall-way this morning to find this.....





Wednesday, March 19, 2008

"You seek Jesus of Nazareth...."



The flowers immediately caught my attention. There were rows of them, tables and tables of them. Lilies, tulips, sun perennials, marigolds, pansy's, and many others. They were beautiful. Amidst the other chaos and commercialization happening in the store, these stood out as a bright and beautiful reminder of the truth behind this coming week-end's celebration. They represent new life. The new life we can have in Christ. As my son's children's Bible puts it so simply, "God raised Jesus from the dead, My Lord's alive! Mary said."
We filled our cart with these flowers. We inhaled the fragrance, as everywhere we walked our cart smelled like a traveling green-house. I was delighted with the beautiful, colorful things to sit on our table, on our piano, and in our window-sill. They will be the sole decoration in our house this Easter week-end. As my children help me to water and care for these flowers, I will remind them how Jesus brings us new life as well. And, even as these flowers stood out in the midst of a crazy store filled with chocolate and Easter Baskets, even so our lives can stand out in a world that is missing it's Savior.

" And entering the tomb, they saw a young man clothed in a long white robe sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. But he said to them, "Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him."
Mark 16: 5-6

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

My Cosette-girl

Joel and I are daily amazed at how fast Cosette is growing, and how mature she seems lately. She quickly turned into my 'big-girl helper' while I was on bed-rest, and she has kind of kept that role since then. She absolutely loves to put her hand on my belly and feel the baby roll all around. Sometimes, though, she proves that she is still a little girl, and comes up with questions that just make Joel and I want to laugh and laugh! Here are a few examples..

  • Why do we smile?
  • When the baby comes and you feed him mommy, what will happen when you run out of milk? (referring of course to nursing the baby. )
  • Why can't I see the vitamins in my food?
  • Why can't I sit in the driver's seat?
  • Does 'ten-teen' come after 'nine-teen?'
  • Did you ever dis-obey your parents, Mommy?
  • Can I paint my finger-nails Daddy?
  • What would you do if a bear came after you, Grandma?

As you can see, she has a very curious and delightful little brain, and it's all I can do each day to keep up with her questions!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Our week, and What are Friends for, Part two

Just some pictures from our week. I'm also including the pictures from yesterday when my friend liz was here.





Cosette, just off the slide
See, I wasn't lying! Liz really did climb up in that thing :)

Once we got Eli to actually go down the slide,
he loved it!!




I have one happy potty-training boy. He's
going to hate me for this picture some day!

A rare quiet moment in our house on Thursday.
Cosette and Eli were listening to a book on CD.
They love to pull out their blankets and pillows and
and get all cozy.




I don't know if you can tell in this picture, but
Cosette has three tiny braids in her hair. She's
soooo happy that her hair is getting 'so long', in
her own words. In reality, it's still very short for
her age, but she loved the braids!





Friday, March 14, 2008

What are friends for?

My friend Liz came today to visit. She was probably hoping for a nice, quiet visit, with time to talk and catch up. LOL! Oh my, did she get anything but that! Mostly, she learned that life in our household is anything but quiet, except for nap-time....
We were busy putting some sandwiches together for lunch, when we heard two little voices laughing from inside the bathroom. Liz quickly bolted back the hallway to check things out. Then, she quickly called me for help! There stands Eli, pulling strands of toilet paper off the roll, and there is his big sister, 'helping' mommy by cleaning the potty with the new toilet bowl wand! What a mess! I left Liz to deal with the sandwiches, and tried to quickly clean up the mess in the bathroom, all the while thanking Cosette for being such a good 'helper'
Later, we had the kids at Burger King for dessert and to play on the indoor playground. But, Eli was too scared to go down the slide; he kept looking at us from the top of the play cage thingy, from the top of the slide, refusing to go down. Well, I was too fat and pregnant to crawl into this thing, so up goes Liz, inside the play equipment, to encourage Eli down the slide. I have pictures of her crawling around in this thing!
Later, when we got back home, we discovered that Cosette's 'cleaning' of the toilet had done more damage than we realized, and it was now severly clogged. Well I plunged, and I plunged, and Liz plunged, and plunged, to no avail. The thing was stuck! And Joel was at work with no vehicle at the time to get home and help. And, let me tell you, you don't go very long in a house with no working toilet, one three year old, and one potty-training almost two year old. So, my dad had to come up and help us......He finally got the thing flushing half-way decently, but we think the little disposable cleaner thing from the end of the brush Cosette was using might have actually gotten flushed down the toilet.....yeah, not a good thing.
To top all this off, Cosette had so much to say today (what's new?) that she kept interrupting Liz and I with "Excuse me, excuse me, can I talk now please?"
Add to all of this a spilled sippy cup at lunch, a half-naked potty training boy running around, an issue of dis-obedience in the front yard, and you have, well......a typical day in our house :)
Poor Liz! She will probably never come to visit us again! No, I'm sure she'll be back. That's what good friends are for, right Liz? ;)

P.S. I have pictures of our day (yes, there were actually fun parts) that I hope to post soon, maybe tomorrow.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Out of the mouth of babes

Cosette likes to inform us (or anyone who will listen, unfortunately) of this on a daily basis:

"The baby in mommy's tummy is actually in a place called the 'room', but some people like to call it the 'oooooterus' instead."

We've tried to kindly explain to her that the correct way to say these words is 'womb' and 'uterus', but she can't ever remember. Besides, it's sweeter this way, and it makes her mommy laugh :)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Breakfast

We often come up with a 'breakfast blah' in our house, meaning that none of us want the few choices of what we may have for breakfast. If we have muffins, everyone's hungry for eggs. Or if we have cereal, everybody wants bagels instead. And, I have always felt guilty that I don't really enjoy oatmeal. It's such a nice cheap, hearty breakfast, but I could never get it down. However, I recently found a baked oatmeal recipe that we all really liked. I think we'll be making this frequently to have on hand for breakfast. I will share it here with you all, and then in your comments, please tell me what you enjoy eating for breakfast :)

Baked Oatmeal

1/2 cup of olive oil or applesauce
1/2 cup white sugar (could be reduced down to 1/4 cup)
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
3 cups quick cook oats (use more or less depending on how dry or creamy you want your oatmeal)
2 Tablespoons gnd flaxseed (optional)
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Mix everything except the last two ingredients, beat well. Pour into a lightly greased pie pan. Sprinkle with the brown sugar and cinnamon. Cover and regrigerate over-night. In the morning, uncover and bake at 350 degrees until firm, about 35 minutes. (Note: I add the ground flaxseed when feeling nice and healthy; it is not a necessary ingredient and could be left out)

This made a really yummy, slightly firm oatmeal. It was great with a little milk poured over it. Enjoy :)

Also, check out Andrea's recent posts for some more yummy breakfast ideas.

Monday, March 10, 2008

The mystery of the disappearing food

I came home this after-noon from my monthly mid-wives appointment, and began getting my kids ready for a nap. They were pretty tired from the long trip to my doctor's office. I opened the fridge door to fill up a sippy cup and....wait a minute! I opened the fridge again. It was completely empty! And I'm not talking 'need to go shopping' empty, I'm talking completely empty!! I stood there dumb-founded for a minute, and then Cosette ran over. "Hey, where's all our food??" she wanted to know. I couldn't imagine where in the world all our food was! At first I got this eerie "I've been robbed feeling", but then I thought, "No, who would want to steal flaxseed, skim milk, half-thawed meat-loaf, salad dressing, butter, orange juice....." It just didn't make sense. I called my husband on the phone. "Love, do you know where all the food in the fridge went to?" My husband was caught off guard and so was quiet for a minute, then, he said, "Have you talked to your brother today?" Now, for those of you who don't know my brother and sister, well, you'd have no way of knowing that they love to play practical jokes. Love to! It made perfect sense. I called my sister first, who laughed and claimed innocence, and declared that she was currently in a town 30 minutes away. Hummm. I called my brother on his cell. Same response. I was getting suspicious. "Wray, if you took my food, you're in big trouble!!" Well, when they both walked in my front door five minutes later, I was sure of my theory. Cosette ran over to them. "Uncle Wray, Aunt Kristin, somebody took all of our food!" My sister snickered and said "Did you check the bath-tub?" Cosette must think her Aunt Kristin is brilliantly smart, because she quickly ran back to check the tub. No food there. What do you know! Well, to make a long story short (yeah right!) my siblings eventually went out to their car and carried in all of the food from my fridge in a large cooler, a small cooler, and three large grocery bags. I groaned. You two!! My daughter, however, was missing the humor in it. She clapped her hands dramatically and exclaimed "Oh, thank you Uncle Wray, thank you Aunt Kristin, thank you for bringing us all this food!!" I groaned again, and tried to explain to her that it was our food they were bringing back! However, she never quite understood this, because she told my dad later tonight "Someone took all the food in our fridge, but Uncle Wray and Aunt Kristin brought us some more!" Such innocence :)
Oh, and in case you're wondering, I got a shiny clean fridge out of the deal. I made my sister scrub it from top to bottom, since it was so nice and empty! And, I made my brother carry all my laundry downstairs.... :) Love you, Wray and Kristin! :)

"Take the plank out of your own eye...''

So, I had to get on the internet this morning to take care of some details of adding air-time to my cell phone. When I was done, I thought I'd check one or two of my favorite blogs. On one of these blogs, a mom was asking for advice on how to get things down with several little ones in the house. I started to type out a rather long comment on things I've found helpful for keeping my little ones busy and safe while I'm otherwise occupied. As I typed this comment out, feeling like a very helpful fellow blogger mommy, My son came to me, carrying a cracked, raw, and oozing egg in his hand he had got in the refrigerator. Of course this had happened because I was so distracted typing out my note on how to be the 'best of mommies' So Jaime, next time swallow your pride, and take the plank out of your own eye first! :)

Saturday, March 08, 2008

'Clumsy', or, 'A belly in the way'

Some of you (my dear hubby included) have been asking for a 'belly shot'. Well, I suppose one of these days I'll get around to posting one. But for now, you'll just have to trust me that I look and feel like the poor woman in this picture. For some reason, my poor belly seems to have popped out twice as fast with this baby. And, I don't know if I'm actually dropping stuff more often, or if it just feels like I am, but I find myself constantly calling on Cosette to help me! It just takes too long for me to muster up the energy to bend over and pick up whatever it is I dropped this time. Well today, I dropped a plate while getting lunch ready. I watched it slowly fall to my floor and clatter loudly, all the while waiting for it to break. When it didn't, I breathed a huge sigh of relief and then said (rather loudly, I'll admit) WHY AM I ALWAYS DROPPING THINGS??? COSETTE!!!!! Cosette comes running out to the kitchen, looks at the offending plate on the floor and says "Mommy, I already told you, hold on tighter to things!!" Poor girl. Maybe this is what she meant in my last post when she said "Sometimes, I just don't know what to do with my parents!"

www.clipartheaven.com

Thursday, March 06, 2008

An outgoing personality


To my daughter, I passed on many of my features. She looks just like my baby pictures. Same light, curly hair, same shape face, same smile. In fact, I fixed her hair a certain way the other day, and it was like looking right at my baby pictures. I did not, however, pass on to her my personality! I think that most people would tend to describe me as being on the more 'quiet' side. Oh,don't get me wrong. I can talk your ear off if I know you really well or feel comfortable. But to strike up a conversation with a complete stranger, or even someone I don't know all that well, is very difficult for me. I always come up with a loss for words! My daughter, however, is the complete opposite. Take today for an example.


I was at WalMart with my kids and sister, and decided to get my hair trimmed. As I stood at the counter paying afterwards, I noticed that Cosette had struck up a conversation with a nice older lady waiting to have her hair done. I finished paying, and told Kristin that I needed to go use the restroom, and could she please keep an eye on Cosette till I got back. Well, when I returned a few minutes later, there stood my daughter, having a deep conversation with this same lady! Only, Cosette was doing most of the talking! The lady was just looking on in amusement, smiling, and casting big grins at my sister, who stood nearby, watching helplessly. There was no way to drag Cosette from this conversation. In fact, as I walked up, I heard her say "Sometimes I just don't know what to do with my parents!" I kid you not. That's exactly what she said. Now, I'm assuming that the part of the conversation I missed would have made that last phrase seem more innocent.....at least, that's what I hope.


Well, I was finally able too cut in and say "Cosette, say goodbye to the nice lady! It's time to go home now." Well, then Cosette said goodbye, and started in on a whole explanation as to why she had to leave, and where she was going next, and so on and so forth. As I drug her away, she was still talking!


Now I, on the other hand, could never have kept up a conversation that long with a complete stranger. My daughter, however, had made fast friends with her in 8 minutes flat. As we were leaving, the lady looked at me and said "And she's only three? I've never seen anything like her before!"


So, all I can figure is that my dad's warm and outgoing personality skipped a generation, and was planted solely and firmly in his oldest grand-daughter :)

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Count your Blessings

There are jello fingerprints all over my wall
Little toy cars lined up in my hall

Our alarm clock sits on the shelf without fuss,
We have automatic clocks of our own to wake us

I often sing songs like "God made my hair"
And spend all day looking for lost teddy bears

I find treasures like crayons and toys everywhere,
But especially under the cushions of our chair

Our favorite movie is Thomas the train,
And Candyland is our favorite game

For snacks we often have apples and cheese,
But not before we say 'thank you' and 'please'

Our shoe rack is filled with shoes for outdoors,
But most of them being around the size 'four'

And our car, oh my, the inside's a fright,
Filled with crackers and crumbs, and bottles of sprite.

You see, our lives may not be 'pristine',
And my house isn't always perfect and clean

But we've got two little blessings to thank God for each day,
And one in my tummy, another blessing on the way

Their sweetness and smiles that brighten the day,
Make the effort and work a small price to pay

Our house is filled with children each day,
And Joel and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

A hopeless battle

I have been trying to beat my husband in chess now for a long time. We used to play frequently while we were courting and engaged. We don't play nearly as often now that we have two kids, but every now and then, we'll pull out the board and play a game or two. Or rather, Joel plays, and I am clobbered. Recently, I was asking some friends for advice on how to beat Joel. Well, I took their advice today, and this is how our Sunday afternoon chess game went.

We started out, and things were looking hopeful for me. I was actually playing half decently. I got several of Joel's pieces. I even put him in check once.

But then, he started to recover, and captured several of my larger pieces. "Uh-oh'', I thought. Time to pull out a strategy. I decided to start with one of my friend's advice to give him a quick kick in the shin. Well, obviously I didn't kick hard enough, because he just smirked at me and kicked back. Then he captured my rook. Rats.(What was that supposed to accomplish anyway? I wondered :)

The game continued, and things just kept getting worse. Time to pull out my brother-in-laws suggestion, I thought. His wise advice was to insult Joel's masculinity---maybe it would distract him enough to buy me some time. "You know, Joel", I said, "you really sounded like a girl singing in church this morning." My husband grinned at me, moved his queen and declared "CheckMate!"

So, dear friend and brother-in-law, I hate to inform you of this, but kicking your husband in the shin and insulting his masculinity definitely do not help you win in chess!!! Any else got any bright ideas? :)

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